This exhibition brings together two artists, both committed painters, who explore through their own very personal visions the complex relationship between issues of language, painterly representation and the experience of looking at objects in the world.
Although there may be strong abstract elements in Roy Oxlade’s work he is an entirely figurative painter. Taking inspiration from his immediate surroundings, his paintings belong to the traditional genres of the figure and still life but certainly don’t conform to any academic expectations of what such paintings should be. Rather than being concerned with technique, they concentrate on exploring the spirit of the object and the range of pictorial possibilities that can be derived from the simplest of things. Out of a flurry of drawn and painted marks emerge a figure, domestic furniture, crockery, a bowl of fruit or the family cat.
A prize-winner in the John Moores 19, Jeff Gibbons also concentrates on modest everyday objects, very often with the addition of a written quotation or a group of words, so that the naming of his paintings is an integral part in the process of making work. Favouring un-stretched canvas and working rapidly he allows intuition and accident to take an active role in establishing a dialogue between the words and the object and the interplay between a literary language and the language of painting.
Roy Oxlade and Jeff Gibbons may both use simple objects for their subjects, but their work is fundamentally about the way that painting, and only painting, can explore some of the intellectual, artistic and spiritual issues that as painters they choose to confront.